Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Don't Love Me in Death...

Don’t Love Me In Death if You Hated Me In Life.

Sooo, I’ve been following the story of the shooting at a small Korean-Christian college in California.  I’ve just been following the online news. Unfortunately, when I do that, I tend to follow the online commentary. 

After which I feel like maybe *I* need to be preemptively, humanely killed before I “inevitably” do something horrible to the world’s quality people because, apparently, I’m a stupid violent animal just waiting to go off because….: 1. I’m a Christian, 2. I have a mental disorder / condition (a known and treated one, but still), 3. I’m an introvert. 4. I enjoy playing video games.

*Rolling eyes.* 

At least I don’t need to die or be deported or detained for my race.  I’m a white person, this means I enjoy a certain amount of privilege, including not being personally targeted when people say “Oh, those Koreans!” or make an oh-so-funny joke about the shooter “being ashamed of the size of his eggroll.”  (Yes, that was a real comment I saw on an online board, it’s probably been lost in the shuffle or found and nixed by a moderator by now, but not before it was seen). 

I feel no need to suddenly fear Korean people now.  I still plan to shop at my local H-Mart, which I love so much I made a happy-rant about it on this blog back in November.   http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com/2011/11/nothing-says-happy-holidays-like.html

I saw some other commentator whine about how their large community college has all kinds of people who speak all kinds of languages and “no one makes fun of that, it must be a religious thing.” 

I refrained from answering that person, because I learned long ago that such people aren’t worth talking to. The prejudiced don’t want any answer but echoes of their own opinion.  I wanted to say “No, it’s not a religious thing, it’s a jerk-thing” because of my own positive experiences with ethnic diversity in Christian churches.  When I was a teenager, I was really into a small family-like Baptist church. Now, they did hold to some dogma I no longer agree with, including a fairly strict-literalist reading of the Bible, but that didn’t make them killers nor did it even make them bullies.  It’s not like they didn’t have their problems, but diversity in ethnicity and language were *not* among them.  No one made fun of anyone who struggled with English, and for my part, members of our “sister-church” didn’t make fun of me for my odious Spanish.   

Most of the commentary anywhere on articles I read on this news was fighting over gun-control.  Loads of people were calling for tighter gun-control laws and they fought with the people who said “if all the victims were armed/there was one sane person with a gun, this could have been stopped.”  My own opinion on that issue is kind of mixed. I don’t think I should ever own a gun. I am familiar with my ups and downs/instability and worry about a suicide-result, so I’ll voluntarily abstain from my “second amendment right.”  However… when at Otakon (an anime festival) one year, in the seller’s hall, I visited a booth selling swords and other replica medieval weapons.  A sign across the booth read: “If they outlaw guns, can we use swords?”  - It was cheeky and geeky, but… really, the truth, no?  It is harder to kill people with a sword – I mean, you gotta look your victim in the face before lopping his head off and a sword is not a ranged-weapon, then again, as a certain Protagonist* of a favorite book of mine once said “Swords don’t run out of ammo!”

Back to some of the stupid, petty commentary… I guess people on the Internet just let fly because they’re both anonymous and there is the perception that what one says on the Internet is ephemeral. Sure, things that are typed get archived, but after a couple pages down on a message-board or news commentary, nobody reads anymore.  If someone calls you on being a jerk, something in most people’s minds apparently says “It’s just text.” I don’t know if the Internet encourages jerkiness or if it is merely bringing out all of the nastiness that has been brewing beneath the surface the entire time.  I think one of the reasons why I hope there’s a God and/or some kind of spiritual dimension to life is because I don’t have a lot of faith in Humanity. To me, Humanity is like a zit – even in the most civil society, there’s a greasy nastiness beneath the surface just waiting for an opportunity to pop and ooze out.

This story made me recall something that happened in my childhood – not directly to me, just some News of the Century that happened near where I lived when I was right around 10 years old.  Wat Pamakuriam (not sure if I’m spelling that right).  If you’re interested, Google “Arizona Buddhist Temple Massacre” or “Avondale, Arizona Buddhist Temple Massacre.”   In the desert on the outskirts of Phoenix lies a Buddhist temple complex where monks meditate and where nine people were shot dead in 1991.  It was a big media fiasco… some of the criminal investigation was a bit dubious, and people across the state were generally appalled that someone could shoot people in the head as they prayed.  Worst massacre in the state since Old West “Indian Wars” times.  Arizona mourned.  I didn’t know anyone involved, my family wasn’t Buddhist, it really didn’t affect me directly at all, but this story has stayed with me all of my life because… monks praying peacefully were friggin’ shot in the head while being harmless!  

I’m sure we all have violent news stories from our childhoods that have stuck with us.  

This was back in the days when the Internet was unknown as a household thing (it existed then, but was a University and nerd thing, I think, but it wasn’t something everyone had in their home). We relied on television news and newspapers for our stories.  My memory of the whole deal is fuzzy because it happened so long ago, but I don’t recall any newscast or paper proclaiming Buddhists to be inherently violent or any other absolute shit like that.  I don’t recall anyone writing into editorial sections to say “those monks’ prayers didn’t save them, haha!”  Somehow, I think if that story happened today, with the Internet, I’d be seeing that, just as I’m seeing the victim-blaming and making-fun-of-the-victims in online comments.  Then again, it might be different just because of the religions involved. Buddhists in America / the Western world are stereotyped as “peaceful” while Christians who are committed enough to actually *call* themselves “Christian” are “crazy and stupid” and, well, if this had been a mosque or an Islamic college?  Um…. Yeah, I think we’d all be buried under screams of “terrorism!” It doesn’t matter if the victims were the shooter’s “own.” 

This brings me to my ultimate annoyance.  Lots and lots of “Christians are crazy and stupid; this guy was acting like a typical Christian! Of course this happened, the Bible is violent!  -- Oh, but what senseless loss of life and condolences to the families.”  Whut?  This brings me to the title of this rant.  Don’t love me in death if you hated me in life.  If you hate me, either as a person or just because of a category I’m in (“loosely Christian / believes in a God”, “struggles with a mental disorder,” “doesn’t like parties,” “plays video games”) then, by all means, if I am killed in a violent act by “one of my own,” DON’T FAKE MOURN ME OR USE ME AS A DAMN MARTYR.  If what you *really* deep down, politically-incorrectly think is “a rat took out a rat’s nest” or “those people deserved it” DON’T pretend like their loss is a loss to you, because it’s not. 

Go ahead and dance on graves. It’s the Internet, which means no one will punch you in the face.  Stereotyping and prejudice pisses me off, but I think passive-aggressive stuff pisses me off even more. (If you’re only “mourning the dead” because you think they missed out on their chance to live long enough drop their beliefs and become full human beings like you and you think  it’s sad that they died as who they were, you’re a doin’ it wrong)!   

Either MAKE THE LOSS A LOSS to you by realizing that everyone is human, or spit on the graves. If you cannot let a tragic story make you a better person, at least be honest.


*Capitalization intentional.  Hiro Protagonist of Neil Stephenson’s “Snow Crash.”  I think his exercise tool, the “redneck katana” could have done some damage, too, if he’d actually used it as a weapon.


  1. The word "Christian" really needs to be examined. Maybe the generalization is because obnoxious Christians are louder than humble ones. I don't know. I was just reading a post about how liberals in America need to redefine what being "patriotic" means since that word often makes us think of things like "America, FUCK YEAH!" All this doesn't excuse the moral wrongness of generalizing anyone, of course.

    I'm addicted to sites that poke fun at fundamentalists. It's bad for me and makes me mad, but I do it anyway. Reading the comments, you get a sense that it makes others mad too and also that you're outnumbered by atheists who don't know you're a Christian yourself. Not to say all the atheists are like that, lest I fall into the same trap.

    But can I say Richard Dawkins pisses me off at times. Oh, that's another story though.

    1. Dawkins... I once saw him on a PBS biology special - about the dissection of a great white shark. He talked about the proprties of sharks and shark-evolution. (Religion wasn't even a part of the program). The way he talked so animatedly about things that he loved (nature, biology) made me really *wish* I'd heard his name before he became famous for talking about the things he hated. So much difference in the guy I saw talking about sharks and the quotes I read in the news. It made me think - as ranty as I can get about stuff, if I ever become famous, I hope it's for the things I love rather than the things I hate.

      About the issue at hand - It doesn't even matter what "kind" of religious this school was - I saw a post about the school's statement and they were fairly literal, "fundie" type, but I don't think that means that the people attending deserve to be spat upon after a violent death, nor to be fake-mourned people who are probably secretly glad they're gone.

      To tell the truth, the racism statements pissed me off more. "Eggroll," yeah, real funny. I expect "loving liberals" to hate certain kinds of people (those of certain religious and political persuasions), but the racism is supposed to be something they're against. I like to call myself "liberal" but I'm really probably more "moderate" or some kind of "off the chart/indefinable" if this is what liberals are really like.

      I've seen Fundies Say the Darndest Things and Landover Baptist, but they kind of piss me off - particularl the ones like FSTDT because they take real quotes and there's too much "Stop making people who believe in stuff look bad, you're ruining it for everyone and are going to bring the war."

      I won't even get started on the whole "mental illness" sterotypes and stigma.

    2. Forgot to add... Chick Tracts are an occasional guilty pleasure of mine. They're just so... bizarre. Checked out one about the end of the world from a link on TV Tropes and was going "Don't they have the wrong villain?" when the murderous false priests were New Agers. New Agers are a threat? Seriously? Last I checked, they were the most frequently laughed-at religious/spiritual group, "tree huggers" who don't egister on any "threat-level" even enough to get Internet uber anti-thiest attention.

      Then again, Chick is considered over the top by most who'd be considered "fundie," what with the hate for Christian-rock and the weird conspiracy theories...

      Then there are Cthullu tracts. Those are fun.